Frenchman, 94, killed in attack by rampaging sheep

A 94-year-old Frenchman died from his injuries after being knocked down and then trampled by an "aggressive" sheep in the south west of the country.

Frenchman, 94, killed in attack by rampaging sheep
Photo: AFP

The man’s body was found by his family on Monday, by a footpath near the village of Cestas,south of Bordeaux, in the Gironde department of south west France.

He was discovered with severe injuries to his face and knees.

The police launched an investigation after the mysterious discovery and their investigation, which included a post-mortem of the man’s body, confirmed their theory he had been attacked by a sheep.

Police believe he was knocked to ground by the animal before the sheep launched a furious attack, targetting the pensioner with its head and hooves.

The newspaper Sud-Ouest said the sheep belonged to a local breeder and landowner whom the 90-year-old had gone to discuss his order of timber.

“It was a young, one-year-old ram who is not at all aggressive — my daughter reared him by bottle,” the farmer who owns the animal told AFP, asking not to be named.

“But in this case he was protecting his flock. He was playing the role of the dominant male because there were a lot of ewes.”

The newspaper said several people witnessed the aggressiveness of the animal, which had also attacked a local politician who had gone to help the man's family after hearing the news.

The woman was left needing hospital treatment after suffering a fracture and heavy bruising.

Police were at a loss to explain why the animal charged initially and simply put the attack down to the “animal's aggression”.

The animal was captured after the fatal attack and will be put down, according to reports.

READ ALSO: The most dangerous animals you can find in France


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France’s Asterix park to shut down dolphin show

A major amusement park in northern France said on Monday it would close its dolphin and sea lion aquarium, the day before lawmakers start to debate new animal welfare rules.

France's Asterix park to shut down dolphin show
France has long discussed imposing stricter rules on using wild animals in amusement parks. Illustration photo: AFP

The dolphin shows are a popular attraction at Parc Asterix, which normally has some two million visitors a year, but have long been a target of animal rights activists.

“We've been thinking about this for several years,” the park's managing director Nicolas Kremer told Le Parisien newspaper, saying the site wanted to focus instead on rides and other shows.

He said the dolphins would be transferred to other aquariums in Europe in the next two months, adding: “Reintroduction in a natural environment is not possible for these animals raised in captivity.”

A ban on captive breeding of dolphins and other marine mammals as well as their use in shows is a key part of the draft law, with the debate due to begin on Tuesday.

A previous effort to outlaw the practices by decree in 2017 was thrown out by the Council of State, France's highest administrative court, but animal rights group have kept up pressure for the ban.

“These associations think that captivity is abuse, but I can tell you that we have always ensured the wellbeing of our animals,” Kremer said.

The park, based on the beloved Asterix the Gaul comics, is hoping to reopen for the busy summer season on April 3rd if coronavirus restrictions are lifted by then.

READ ALSO: Disneyland Paris to begin 'phased reopening' in July